If you're a fantasy football fanatic then the
have one of the worst receiver units in the
The production over the years hasn't been gaudy, and the names aren't sexy. The only receiver that has any sizzle is
, and he's 34 and coming off his worst NFL season.
But if you know football you're aware flashy names don't make west coast offenses good, and that receivers usually establish themselves when opportunity arises.
A few of the Dolphins' 12 receivers attending training camp will have an opportunity to carve out a productive NFL career for themselves. The next few months will tell us which wide outs are ready to seize the opportunity.
Last year was Bess' least productive year (51 catches for 537 yards and three touchdowns) in his four NFL seasons. Plenty of his drop-off had to do with quarterback chemistry issues, which limited his opportunities. But in 2009 and 2010 the former University of Hawaii standout caught 155 passes for 1,578 yards and seven touchdowns, and should return to that pace in 2012.
Hartline and Bess are returning starters who have already proven themselves, and have the potential to do more. Ochocinco and Naanee should be safe if they stay healthy, and produce like they did during OTAs and minicamp. The rest of Miami's receivers are battling it out for one or two spots on the Dolphins' 53-man roster, and the one or two practice squad spots reserved for receivers.
The Dolphins did not make a big splash in free agency, or during the draft to replace
, who was traded to Chicago for two third-round picks. What Miami did was sign Ochocinco after New England released him late this summer, add Naanee to a one-year contract for the minimum, draft two receivers in the later round, sign a CFL standout, and one undrafted.
That course of action certainly lacks sex appeal, but that doesn't mean Miami's offense will because a number of the veteran receivers - Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore, Julius Pruitt - have flashed upside from time to time. One of those players could potentially become the next
The Dolphins plan to utilize a receiver by committee approach; leaning on every wide out’s strengths. Bess will continue his role as Miami’s slot receiver, and Miami's defensive players say he's the team's most difficult receiver to cover in this scheme. The Dolphins believe Hartline, who averaged 15.7 yards per catch, can shoulder a heavier load than what he carried as the Dolphins No. 3 receiver the past two seasons.
Ochocinco’s play during the offseason program proved he’s still got some quickness left, but can he learn the offense, and re-establish himself as one of the NFL's premiere receivers? He's healthy, and his reputation as a hard worker should help him.
Naanee’s size and physicality should allow him to push for a starting spot. His route running specifically impressed Miami's coaches, but there's a chance his play could drop-off when pads come on.